There are two schools of thoughts about whether to hyphenate compound adjectives, which is what “fixed income” becomes when you use it as an adjective. It’s the reader-friendly approach vs. common usage.
Let’s talk about “fixed income investing.” When you combine an adjective and noun and then use them to describe a second noun, you’re creating a compound adjective.
You’re also making it more difficult for your readers to interpret your text. They’re used to thinking of “income” as a noun, so they may struggle for a moment before they realize that “fixed income” serves as an adjective in “fixed income investing.” Following this line of thought, it’s kinder to your reader to write “fixed-income investing.”
Opponents of writing “fixed-income investing” say “fixed income” is so commonly used as an adjective that a hyphen is unnecessary.
- A hot-water bottle is a bottle for holding hot water.
- A hot water bottle is a water bottle that is hot.
The Wall Street Journal uses a hyphen when fixed-income is an adjective. What’s your decision–fixed-income investing or fixed income investing?
Whichever approach you adopt, be consistent in your usage. That will help your readers know what to expect.
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